Class Content and Procedures
The instructor prepares class activities that provide students with a conceptual and theoretical framework for the skills, processes, genres, concepts, and paradigms involved in reading, writing, speaking and interpreting. Guided discussion encourages students to be active readers, speakers, and questioners, while both creative and expository writing assignments provide opportunities for literary analysis, self-expression, the development of writing, rhetorical, and analytical skills, and the kind of understandings of literary and written expression that come from doing it themselves.
The first-year course introduces material more quickly than 9th- or 10th-grade language arts classes, but also focuses on enabling students to work with texts in greater depth and with greater consciousness of critical and theoretical models. The second year also introduces material more quickly than in standard classes, building on the conceptual and skills foundation built the first year.
Class time incorporates discussion, model analysis, presentations, group work assignments, and writing workshops with individualized attention. Homework assignments reinforce concepts and skills presented in class; assignments may invite students to engage with texts in specific ways or ask them to define the ways they wish to read. Always, such choices will be discussed in class, underlying assumptions examined, and students may be asked to take an opposing position or come up with an alternate interpretation. Some homework will focus on having students revisit and refine previous writing assignments, as revision is a crucial part of the writing process.
When teaching the concepts and skills of writing and interpretation, the varying initial capabilities of students are taken into consideration. Students soon learn to craft well-supported logical arguments as a way to produce and present interpretations. Creative activities benefit from this critical expertise, and the synergy of the activities together makes students more sensitive readers and more effective writers. Because there are no single answers in this process, but only good questions and arguments, students learn quickly that correctness is less important than communication, and that facts are sometimes less crucial in understanding a text than emotions. These courses strive to help students understand the richness of meaning and expression in literature and their own writing.
Because students are studying typical high school literature content, ISHALL curiculum may contain mature content that is not appropriate for all students. Parents need to review the sample curriculum and determine if their student is ready for the ISHALL curriculum.
Sample curriculum is listed below.
Sample description of the ISHALL Curriculum
ISHALL Year 1
Unit 1 - Introduction to Reading (4 weeks)
In this unit, students will be introduced to the themes of literature, the relationship between words and emotions, and critical analysis of text.
Unit 2 - Introduction to Writing (4 weeks)
This unit focuses on identifying and developing good writing skills, focusing on the writing process, the elements of an argument, effective communication by means of direct statements, judicious diction, clarity, and strategic organization.
Unit 3 - Novel and Persuasion (4 weeks)
This unit focuses on narrative, themes of integrity and choice, and the relations among different versions of the same historical event. Writing exercises focus on argumentation, persuasion, and working with texts of differing genres.
Unit 4 - Epic Poetry (4 weeks)
This unit focuses on friendship, fidelity, hardship, fate, and the passage of time as those themes appear in epic poetry and other texts. Writing focuses on analyses of characterization, point-of-view, and narrator.
Unit 5 - Shakespearean Tragedy (4 weeks)
This unit focuses on the challenges of reading Shakespeare's tragedy, MacBeth, as well as on the ethical dilemmas and questions of ambition, power, greed, and fear posed by the play. Writing will include a research paper, an analysis of a scene of the play, and an essay comparing Shakespeare’s play with more contemporary renditions. Presentations will include performances of portions of scenes.
Unit 6 - Post–World War II Drama (4 weeks)
This unit focuses on enabling students to read dramatic texts of different styles and kinds, identifying the dynamics and modes of expression, and relating the means of expression with the ideas enacted. Writing will include an analytical essay on a play, a comparison of similar themes’ treatments from different plays, and writing a short scene of their own. Students will perform small scenes from the plays as well as from their own work.
Unit 7 - Fictions of Travel and the Road (4 weeks)
This unit focuses on the art of the novel in the form of the picaresque, looking as well at 19th-century American literature and more contemporary versions of the road. Writing assignments will focus on students exploring the picaresque and the relation between experience and fiction through journals, and an attention to the relation between travel, space, time, and writing.
Unit 8 - Romanticism (4 weeks)
This unit explores literature from the historical period and style known as “romanticism” as well as some of the ways romantic ideas have continued in literature and our ideas about literature and writing. It will emphasize the development of skills in close reading and analysis of poetry. Writing assignments will include explications of poems, a research project on the historical context of romanticism, and students writing their own poetry.
Unit 9 - Shakespearean Comedy (4 weeks)
This unit studies comedy in Shakespeare, focusing entirely on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s language, imagery, and characters. This is an intensive unit in which students will be presented with literary critical texts as a part of their study, will perform portions of the play, and will write a more extended critical essay.
Unit 10 - Literature as Social Action (4 weeks)
This unit explores the ways 20th-century literature, writing, and journalism have influenced public opinion. The writing focuses on persuasion and argument. Students will also present speeches.
ISHALL Year 2
Unit 1 - Literature and Technology (4 weeks)
This unit explores the relations among literature, technological advances, and the expansion of expressive media, looking at British literature from the 18th and 19th centuries, science fiction, and science journalism. Writing assignments include the expository report, statements of policy, and creative science fiction.
Unit 2 - Comedy, Errors, and Corrections (4 weeks)
This unit explores British Elizabethan, Restoration, 18th-century, and Modernist dramatic texts. It also focuses on the processes of writing and revising. Students will examine the processes of making decisions, and the ramifications of those decisions.
Unit 3 - The Oral Tradition: Transformation and Storytelling (4 weeks)
The focus of this unit is literature derived from an oral tradition, including Old and Middle English texts (in translation), poetry, and folk tales. Writing and speaking assignments will include gathering urban folk tales, an analytical essay on poetry, writing poetry, and a critical essay on the relation between the Internet and oral traditions.
Unit 4 - Chaos and Coherence (4 weeks)
This unit focuses on the structures and functions of narrative as it produces sense out of chaos. Presenting this issue through 19th-century American fiction and contemporary British Fiction, students will write a short story, an essay analyzing a story’s structure, and an essay examining the function of a motif in one of the novels. Students will also offer a presentation considering the ways contemporary Americans make sense out of chaos.
Unit 5 - Cultural Capital (4 weeks)
This unit examines the literature and phenomena of the Harlem Renaissance and the Jazz Age, showing how multiple media work to produce and reflect community, as well as how communities communicate with one another. Analysis will focus on the transformation of themes and styles from genre to genre. Writing assignments will include a stylistic analysis, a research paper that examines the relations between the works of two authors, and a speech on the relation between literature and art in another medium, including cinema, music, fine art, or dance.
Unit 6 - Larger Than Life: Figures in Literature and History (4 weeks)
The topics of this unit are the rendition of the protagonist, the functions of narrators and point-of-view, and the representation of history, across genre, but focusing primarily on narrative fiction. Writing will focus on issues of voice, point-of-view, and chronology.
Unit 7 - Literature and Politics (4 weeks)
This unit examines the intersection of literature, writing, film, and politics, ranging from the 18th century to the present. Exploring such genre as satire, allegory, parody, and the graphic novel, this unit adds a new mode of interpretation to close reading, issues of structure and theme, and style. Writing assignments will focus on understanding how to analyze and produce satire, parody, and indirect political commentary.
Unit 8 - Romance (4 weeks)
The focus of this unit is literature of romance from the Middle Ages through more contemporary versions in a range of genres. Students will write critical analyses and poems and give a presentation that traces similarities and/or changes across the centuries.
Unit 9 - Coming of Age (3 weeks)
This unit explores literature focused on the process and rituals of coming of age. Students will write critical analyses of two of the texts as well as an autobiographical piece on their own experiences, and present an extemporaneous talk.
Unit 10 - Modernism/Postmodernism (5 weeks)
This unit focus presents a case study of the idea of literary periods, styles, and changes. During this final unit, students will read both primary and critical/literary historical texts on modernism and postmodernism. They will finish a researched analysis of an aspect of one of the works.